Australian national security

I just came across a tweet by @claire

This tweet was criticized on the grounds that, if Australia can’t defend itself without America, it’s not really sovereign.

For my part, I think it underestimates Australian resourcefulness. And I don’t just mean that Australia could become a nuclear-armed Switzerland of the Indo-Pacific if it wanted.

Does Australia have so little diplomatic skill, that it could not organize an alternative set of security arrangements, to protect it from annexation and/or partition by hostile powers?


Have to agree it appears unduly pessimistic, no one in their right mind would want to conquer Australia.

1 Like

If the past 5 or 6 years have proven anything, its that “not being in your right mind” is no barrier to leadership of a country.

I do not know what precisely @claire is referring to here (I am not on Twitter), but in general I could see where her viewpoint is true. There is an incredible amount to complain about in regards to America’s interventions and use of soft-power on the worlds stage. One could list off offenses for days. However when compared to how most other countries would have used such a pulpit, or indeed compared with the ones who will step up should America step down?

The world has thrived under American quasi-hegemony. Whoever replaces it is unlikely to be so benevolent.

While this article focuses mostly on NATO, it’s underlying point is true worldwide.

The freeloading countries don’t even send a fruit basket to Washington to say thanks. In fact, as a rightish American who’s spent a bit of time abroad, I can personally attest that many of those NATO members’ citizens feel free to disparage our massive military budget, as if their smaller budgets were some sort of moral sacrifice rather than an unearned benefit paid for by U.S. taxpayers. There, I got that off my chest. I hope we all feel better.

There are downsides to this. Countries with a big hammer will inevitably end up using it in ways that turn out to be stupid. (See: Iraq.) It also, inevitably means that the security umbrella of the world will be used in ways that the country that owns it likes. (See complaints by every country except the U.S., many of them justified.) But for all that, you can certainly imagine a country with an America-sized military advantage doing much worse things with it. Many worse things. In fact, when you think about alternative histories, we’re pretty far into the “happy” zone of the spectrum.



1 Like

I completely agree. When I first encountered radical criticism of American foreign policy (e.g., Noam Chomsky) as an undergraduate I became convinced that the U.S. was a malign actor on the world stage that only paid lip service to our ideals, overthrowing democracies and propping up autocracies whenever it served the interests of elite politicians, corporations, and the military-industrial complex. There is, of course, some truth to this critique, but it only tells part of the story. Since the end of World War II the U.S. served as a bulwark against the expansion of Soviet communism, helping to establish and preserve liberal democracies. During the “Pax Americana” the volume of global trade has massively increased, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of grinding poverty. There’s still much to criticize, but even with its many failures I think U.S. leadership compares favorably with the possible alternatives.


Yep, you can file that under “One could list off offenses for days.”

Edit: To be clear, I am talking about the criticism. Not agreement with the idea that Australia is a loyal poodle to America.

A loyal Drop Bear maybe… but poodle?